The image above is from Google Earth, which had its photography for Chico updated just within the last two weeks. The picture is the closest zoom available and shows the new City Plaza under construction. Based on other construction landmarks around town and the colors of foliage, plus the fullness of Lake Oroville at the time, I’m estimating the image was snapped by satellite sometime in late June 2006.
Just looking at it I immediately found out something I didn’t know; That the four corners of City Plaza are compass points. The North corner, which points to Duffy’s Tavern is almost exactly true North, with the other corners being East, South and West. I added the letters to the image for your convenience, they don’t exist on the sidewalks.
The previous imagery for Chico on Google Earth was taken in 2003, and quite fuzzy. Partially due to the image being taken while smoke and haze from a wildfire somewhere covered the town. Part of that imagery remains in the Nord Avenue section on the west side and when you load images with that view, you can see a sharp cutoff where the smoke ends and fresh image begins.
Another thing thats been updated is integration of vegetation colors at lesser zoom levels, which clearly show where agriculture exists. See the image below.
But the coolest thing is the 3D capability, and in the image below, you can take in all of Chico and the foothills in one image. This view is looking Northeast from about 23,000 feet altitude. The Chico Airport is in the upper left. Click the link below the picture for a larger more detailed image.
If you haven’t tried Google Earth yet, its really a lot of fun. Free too. See http://earth.google.com/ It’s a great tool for figuring out things or for just looking around at things you’ve never seen from the air. The Pro version, which I use, allows integration of overlays and drawings, and allows measurements. When I was running for County Supervisor this past year I used Google Earth partly to devise a solution to the Keefer Slough flooding problem. I’ll post that solution in a future blog.
Another thing that can be seen in Google Earth is the city owned stormwater basin just south of the Chico ER building that was the subject of problems this summer related to mosquitos and a West Nile virus outbreak. That was a hot topic on Jack Lee’s blog this summer.
But the most odd new image in Chico is the one below. Can anybody guess what it is?